DAR insists no food shortage but sets price ceiling on pork, chicken

The Department of Agriculture has set a price cap on pork and chicken even as it maintained that there is enough supply of food.

By Eileen Mencias

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the DA is looking at a price ceiling of P300 per kilo for pork belly or liempo, P270 per kilo for pork shoulder, kasim and pigue, and P160 per kilo for dressed chicken.

The SRP on pork belly is at P290 per kilo, P260 for pork shoulder and ham the SRP and P140 per kilo for dressed chicken.

“We have enough food supplies, only these are manipulated by traders and wholesalers,” Dar said in a press conference Monday morning.

Dar said LGU officials were supporting the imposition of a price ceiling on pork and chicken products.

Under the Price Act, government may impose price controls on basic necessities such as pork and poultry if an area is under a state of calamity or emergency.

Price ceilings may also be imposed on basic necessities and prime commodities if there is a calamity or emergency, if there is illegal price manipulation is widespread, if the increase in price is artificial and unreasonable, or if prices have reached unreasonable levels.

Dar said the continued spread of the African Swine Fever in the country is enough reason to impose a price ceiling on pork and chicken. ASF hit Luzon in July 2019 and reached Mindanao in January 2020 and has since reached Visayas.

“The calamity that we can identify is the ASF. Calamity yun. Yun ang pananaw ng Department of Agriculture,” Dar said.

Dar said while pork supply is tight, there was no shortage of the commodity. The country, however, moved to triple pork importation under the minimum access volume (MAV) mechanism.

Dar said the MAV importation of pork would be raised to 162,000 metric tons this year from last year’s 54,000 metric tons. Products that enter the country under the MAV mechanism are charged lower tariffs.

Dar said traders and wholesalers must substantiate their claims of a food shortage if they do not want to be suspected of colluding with each other to manipulate prices.

He said the DA has started discussions with the Philippine Competition Commission to investigate traders and wholesalers.

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